Bananas are a common sight on Filipino dining tables. They are eaten raw or cooked to make delicious snacks and desserts. Bananas are abundant everywhere as many people in the rural areas grow them in their backyards and in the cities, they are more affordable than other fruits. Joevert Villamera, 19, earns a living from banana trading.
Joevert was born and raised in Minapasuk in the town of Calatrava, in the northern part of Negros Occidental. His parents were sugarcane farm labourers and earned meager wages. Joevert did not go far in his education. At 18, he went to Bacolod city when his friend, Nanoy, who worked as a domestic helper in the city offered to help him find an employer. He did find a job as a domestic helper but he soon realized that selling bananas was a better livelihood when he was introduced to Nanoy’s cousin, Dante who was a banana trader. Nine months later, Joevert quit his job, rented a "trisikad stall”, a bicycle with a side cart to display his bananas and started trading bananas; he got his supplies from Dante.
Joevert sold his bananas in the Vendors Plaza which was built to give micro vendors a proper location to sell in and to prevent them from crowding the major markets and streets of the city. One day in November 2011, he met Leonivin (18) who was selling hard-boiled fertilized duck eggs known as “balut” in the plaza. Soon they became a couple and started living in together in a rented house in Barangay 10, one of the densely populated squatter areas of Bacolod.
Presently, Joevert earns an average net income of 150 pesos a day. Dante only gives him 15 percent of his total sales and from that, Joevert has to pay a rental fee of 50 pesos for the trisikad. This income is barely enough for the Villamera couple to live on especially now that Leonivin is four months pregnant.
In the light of the above, Joevert came to the PSHF and applied for a loan of 7,500 pesos. He will use 5,000 pesos to buy a second hand trisikad and have a side cart constructed for it so he does not need to rent one anymore. He will use the rest of the loan to buy 2,500 bananas which he will sell in a week. Joevert is hoping to earn an income of 300 pesos a day once he has his own working capital and trisikad.
Joevert does not want his own children to experience the tough times he had as a child. He and Leonivin will make sure that they will be able to provide well for their future child. Joevert is very grateful to the PSHF for our help.
Lanie M. De Leon
PSHF Negros Occidental
Joevert and Leonivin with the Bananas he is about to sell.